It could be a while before recently signed New England Patriots wide receiver Cameron Meredith actually takes the practice field — months even.

The Patriots placed Meredith, who is dealing with a knee injury, on the physically unable to perform list when they signed him Friday. Meredith still takes up a roster spot, and he can be removed from the list at any time this month to begin practicing.

If the Patriots don’t remove Meredith from the PUP list by the Aug. 31 cutdown date, then he would revert to regular-season PUP and no longer takes a spot on the Patriots’ roster. Meredith then could begin practicing after the Patriots’ sixth regular-season game. If he didn’t begin practicing within a five-week window, he would be shut down for the rest of the season. If Meredith begins practicing within that five-week window, the Patriots would have a 21-day window to activate him to the 53-man roster.

So, there’s really only upside to placing Meredith on PUP as long as he’s not currently healthy enough to practice. Either Meredith will get healthy before Week 1 and compete for a roster spot, or he will serve as mid-season insurance.

Meredith joins wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, safety Nate Ebner and cornerback Ken Webster on the Patriots’ PUP list. Wide receiver Julian Edelman and offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste currently are on the non-football injury list, which largely works the same way as PUP.

He joins Edelman, Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris, Dontrelle Inman, Braxton Berrios, Damoun Patterson, Gunner Olszewski, Ryan Davis and Matthew Slater on the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart.

Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images